Friday, March 10, 2006

Maalamal Weekly

Despite a story that has the potential of binding a viewer to the screen, Priyadarshan’s latest comedy Malamaal Weekly turns out to be nothing more than a timepass entertainer.

The movie stars Ritesh Deshmukh , Reema Sen , Paresh Rawal , Om Puri , Arbaaz Khan , Shakti Kapoor , Asrani and Rajpal Yadav .

On paper, the story of ‘Maalamal Weekly’ sounds quite interesting and holds a substantial potential for comedy. A dead man wins a lottery ticket and everyone in the village wants a share of the windfall.

But what translates on to the screen is far less engaging than what one expects, particularly considering the ensemble of actors like Paresh Rawal, Om Puri, Asrani and Ritesh Deshmukh, all of who have their own unique flair for comedy.

Laholi is a village inhabited by the poor and uneducated, save for Lilaram (Paresh Rawal), allegedly the most literate of them all. Lilaram earns his living by selling Maalamal Weekly lottery tickets.

One day, Lilaram comes to know that one of the lotteries he has sold has won rupees One Crore prize. Suddenly the thinking bulb inside this village bumpkin’s head flickers and he devices an ingenious plan to find out who has the winning ticket.

It turns out that the possessor of the ticket is a drunkard named Anthony who dies before claiming the winning amount.

Lilaram wants to steal the winning ticket but the village milkman Balwant (Om Puri) comes to know the secret and wants a share in the money.

Before the two could hide Anthony’s dead body, Kanhaiya (Ritesh Deshmukh) – a good-for-nothing youngster in love with Balwant’s daughter (Reema Sen) – sees them. Now, he too wants a share of the amount.

Gradually, the ‘secret’ spreads in the entire village and everyone is in race for riches. But then inspector Jayesh (Arbaaz Khan) comes to the village to find the truth.

As the story progresses, the situations, the jokes and gags are truly hilarious at times, but the overall impact of a hearty and rejuvenating comedy is clearly missing.

Paresh Rawal has been given the best dialogues, followed by Om Puri and Asrani. Rawal acquits himself with yet another notable performance, but Om Puri goes over the top in certain scenes. Ritesh Deshmukh stays subdued except in one sequence.

‘Maalamal Weekly’ is based on an original story by Priyadarshan and is not a remake of any south film. What could have been a riveting story turns out to be a humdrum fare because Priyadarshan has focused more than needed on several sub-plots, the inclusion of which adds new offshoots to the story and stretches the movie to the limit that tests a viewer’s patience.

By Aparajita Ghosh in


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